November 19th Playbook
Former Speaker Mike Turzai is reportedly considering a run for Governor. Here is the Playbook.
‘Sources: Former Speaker of the Pa. House Mike Turzai to enter gubernatorial race’: ABC27 reports that “sources tell abc27’s Capitol Reporter Dennis Owens, former Speaker of the Pa. House Mike Turzai is entering the race for Pa. Governor on the Republican ticket.”
‘Pennsylvania Republicans baffled by Dr. Oz’s Senate bid’: POLITICO reports that “Dr. Oz is serious about running for the Senate” in Pennsylvania.
‘2 top executives quit giant Pa. pension fund amid FBI, SEC probes’: Spotlight PA reports that “following months of controversy and amid an ongoing federal investigation, Pennsylvania’s biggest pension fund on Thursday announced that its top two executives were leaving their jobs.”
‘Gov. Wolf: Make PSERS investigation results public’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday called on the state’s biggest pension fund to make public the result of its investigation into the plan’s exaggerated investment results and Harrisburg land deals, soundly rejecting suggestions that the fund would need to keep the probe secret to safeguard the reputations of top staff.”
‘Wolf says he opposes Pa. House bill tightening rules on nonprofit bail funds’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf’s office says it opposes a controversial bill that passed the Pennsylvania House this week that would regulate nonprofit bail funds as for-profit bail bondsmen.”
‘Senate GOP identifies vendor that will ‘conduct a thorough and impartial election investigation’’: PennLive reports that “the GOP-led Senate committee has identified the private contractor it will hire to assist in its taxpayer-funded review of the 2020 presidential election.”
‘Pa. Rep. Keller pushes effort to nullify Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for business’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-12th District, and dozens of his fellow Republicans in the U.S. House are pushing an effort to overturn the Biden White House’s vaccine mandate for private employers.”
‘Progress expected in 2022, but it might take years before Pa. communities see impact of federal infrastructure bill’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “billions of dollars in federal funds are headed to Pennsylvania over the next five years as part of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law by President Joe Biden this week. But it’ll take time before communities see progress, as federal officials outline guidelines for spending the money earmarked for roadways, broadband, transportation, revitalization, and environmental investments.”
‘Pa.’s Capitol Hill Republicans vote against censuring Arizona’s Paul Gosar over threatening video’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “Pennsylvania’s 18-member delegation split along party lines, with all nine Democratic lawmakers voting for the censure resolution. Eight of the state’s nine GOP lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District, a frequent Democratic crossover vote, opposed it. U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District, who is quarantining after contracting COVID-19, was marked as non-voting, according to an official House roll call.”
‘Pa. nurses could get up to $7,500 of their student loans paid off thanks to COVID-19 relief dollars’: PennLive reports that “Pennsylvania-licensed nurses could soon have some of their student loan debt paid off for them. A one-time student loan forgiveness program will provide up to $7,500 in debt reduction under a program that the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency’s board authorized on Thursday.”
‘Pair of advocates lining up to run for Gainey’s state House seat’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “NaTisha Washington, an environmental advocate and educator, and Ashley Comans, a marketing and communications coordinator, have launched their campaigns to succeed Mr. Gainey, who will be sworn-in as mayor of Pittsburgh in January.”
‘As 6 Pa. state-owned universities are merged, what will happen to the cost for students?’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “State System of Higher Education leaders may foreshadow their broader approach to affordability.”
‘The Pa. House could vote on broad election law changes as soon as next month’: WITF reports that “The Pennsylvania House has made final arrangements to vote on dozens of changes to the state’s election laws and procedures.”
City & State PA’s Biggest Winners & Losers This Week: City & State PA highlights the three winners and losers in Pennsylvania politics this week.
‘Josh Shapiro frames himself ‘the fighter’ for the governorship’: City & State PA details Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s campaign for Governor.
‘The influence of the Latino vote in Pennsylvania is only growing’: City & State PA reports that “Pennsylvania is changing and politicians have to catch up. The 2020 census results revealed more than just how voting maps may be drawn, but they also showed the growing influence of Latino voters in Pennsylvania politics.”
‘Gov. Tom Wolf orders state flags to half-staff in honor of slain Blair County corrections officer’: PennLive reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered the Pennsylvania flag on all state facilities, public buildings and grounds in Blair County to fly at half-staff immediately in honor of Rhonda Jean Russell, a Blair County corrections officer who died Wednesday in the line of duty.”
‘PUC approves $1.975M settlement with Energy Transfer for Pa. pipeline blast’: StateImpactPA reports that “the state’s public utility commission approved a nearly $2 million settlement with the Texas company responsible for a 2018 pipeline explosion in Beaver County that destroyed one home.”
‘Why incarceration rates are going down in Pennsylvania, but not for women’: KYW Newsradio reports that “part of the reason involves the way criminals are sentenced.”
‘Is increase in Philadelphia violence related to decrease in gun convictions? State to study it’: KYW Newsradio reports that “the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing is going to investigate whether there is a correlation between the increase in gun violence in Philadelphia and the decrease in convictions of gun crimes.”
‘Pundits Look Ahead to 2022 Midterms’: The Delaware Valley Journal reports that “while some pundits have Democrats crying in their beer –or white wine—over Republican momentum in Philadelphia’s collar counties, others say the 2021 election results do not foretell future GOP wins.”
‘Bobby Henon quietly returns to City Council after his conviction in bribery trial’: WHYY reports that “three days after a federal jury convicted him of bribery and conspiracy, City Councilmember Bobby Henon participated in his first legislative session in more than a month. But over the course of the roughly two-hour meeting on Thursday, there was not a single mention of Monday’s high-profile verdict, which also saw a jury convict powerful labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Doughtery.”
‘Deana’s Law passes overwhelmingly in state House’: The Delaware County Daily Times reports that “the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a package of reforms to the state’s driving under the influence laws Wednesday by a margin of 168-32, a major step forward in enacting stronger drunk driving laws in the name of a Brookhaven woman killed in 2019.”
‘Delaware County appoints Melissa Lyon to lead its new department of health’: WHYY reports that “the Delaware County Board of Health has named Melissa Lyon to lead the county’s first health department, expected to make its debut in January.”
‘Houlahan urges officials to reopen in-person Social Security appointments’: The Daily Local News reports that “U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan this week sent a letter to Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) urging her to prioritize the reopening of SSA field offices nationwide and increase capacity for in-person appointments. This effort is a direct result of countless constituent complaints and frustrations with the lack of in-person services.”
‘State Rep. Kristine Howard announces reelection bid’: The Daily Local News reports that “two-term Chester County state Rep. Kristine Howard, D-167th Dist., of Malvern, has announced her intentions to seek reelection next year.”
‘Montgomery County Commissioners see proposed budget with 8 percent tax hike’: Montgomery Media reports that “Montgomery County officials got their first glimpse of next year’s budget Thursday as the county faces a $12 million deficit and a potential 8 percent property tax hike.”
‘No suburban SEPTA strike as deal is reached with union’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “a tentative contract agreement between SEPTA and the union representing some suburban operators of buses, trolleys, and the light-rail cars of the Norristown High Speed Line will avoid a strike and ensure no service disruption, the transit agency said Thursday.”
‘Union rally turns up the heat on UPMC for starting wage of $20 an hour, benefit enhancements’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “hundreds of union supporters gathered in Downtown Thursday and blocked a lane of Grant Street outside UPMC’s headquarters to demand a $20-an-hour starting wage, forgiveness of medical debt and freedom to seek union representation without interference from the health system’s management.”
‘Lawsuit alleges Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto interfered with vote on removing Columbus statue’: WESA reports that “the group suing the City of Pittsburgh and Mayor Bill Peduto to keep the statue of Christopher Columbus in place now alleges that the art commission’s vote to remove it is invalid because the mayor attempted to influence that vote. But the allegation seems to rest on a mischaracterized email from an art commissioner.”
‘Southwestern Pa. residents can help boost the area’s broadband haul from the infrastructure bill’: WESA reports that “now that President Biden has signed his infrastructure bill into law, civic groups in southwestern Pennsylvania are getting ready to apply for funds to expand broadband service.”
‘Pittsburgh joins international initiative to end HIV epidemics by 2030’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “Pittsburgh has signed on to an international initiative to end urban HIV epidemics by 2030.”
‘Proposal would make it illegal for Pittsburgh employers to discriminate against domestic abuse victims’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “employers in Pittsburgh would not be able to discriminate against employees because they have been victims of domestic abuse, under a proposal introduced to City Council this week.”
‘Somerset County salary board to consider suspending DA’s pay’: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that “with a law now in place in Pennsylvania barring prosecutors from overseeing their offices without active law licenses, Somerset County’s paychecks to District Attorney Jeffrey Thomas could cease later this month.”
‘Environmental Activists Ask Biden Admin. to Stop LNG Trains Rolling Through Philly’: The Delaware Valley Journal reports that “a small but passionate crowd of environmental activists delivered a petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation in Philadelphia Wednesday, demanding it prevent a flow of trains and tanker trucks carrying liquified natural gas through parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.”
‘Teachers, parents call for contract, improvements to Scranton School District at town hall meeting’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “even after teachers receive a new contract, the work to improve the Scranton School District is far from over, union members and parents said at a town hall meeting Thursday night.”
‘Luzerne County ended up with 30.57% voter turnout Nov. 2’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “with hundreds of provisional and flagged mail ballots factored in, Luzerne County ended up with a 30.57% voter turnout in the Nov. 2 general election.”
‘Lancaster County Prison officials, workers speak out for higher pay: ‘It is inhumane the way we are working’’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “in an uncommon display of solidarity between management and labor, both the Lancaster County Prison administration and union called on county commissioners to raise the starting wage for correctional officers.”
‘Newport judge to resign after pleading guilty to inappropriate contact with minors and other charges’: PennLive reports that “a Perry County Magisterial District Judge will resign at the time of sentencing after pleading guilty to several charges, including inappropriate contact with minors.”
‘Lancaster County in ‘homestretch’ of finalizing Nov. 2 election; Winners to be decided in tie races Friday’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Lancaster County Board of Elections workers are in the “homestretch” of counting the record-breaking 52,308 write-in votes cast in the Nov. 2 election, according to Christa Miller, the county’s election chief clerk and registrar.”
‘In close vote, Allentown rejects campaign finance limits for city candidates’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “Allentown City Council member Joshua Siegel left Wednesday night’s meeting disappointed. By a 3-4 vote, council rejected an ordinance, spearheaded by Siegel, that would have limited how much money candidates for city office can accept for their campaigns.”
‘Berks County 2022 budget proposal contains no tax increase [Update]’: The Reading Eagle reports that “Berks County unveiled a 2022 budget proposal Thursday that would hold the line on taxes.”
‘Leinbach: Bill could help restore passenger rail service’: WFMZ reports that “with President Joe Biden signing a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law Monday, the chairman of Berks County’s board of commissioners said the county has never been so close to restoring passenger rail service.”
‘Erie County Executive-Elect holds meeting with transition team members’: WJET reports that “Erie County Executive-Elect Brenton Davis announced on Thursday his plans to examine the operations of Erie County Government to make recommendations for the incoming administration.”
‘Erie City Council OKs $32 million in American Rescue Plan funded projects’: WJET reports that “Erie City Council moves ahead with plans for a large portion of Erie’s American Rescue Plan funding.”
Mackenzie Files for PA7: State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh) has filed to run for the 7th Congressional District, according to the National Journal’s Alex Clearfield.
Congressional Black Caucus PAC Endorses Boyle: Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia) was endorsed for reelection by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) PAC, its Chair, Gregory Meeks, and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, according to a release from the Boyle campaign.
‘New Pa. data shows vaccine protection holding up, but unvaccinated people hit hard by COVID-19’: PennLive reports that “about nine in ten COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Pennsylvania have involved people who are less than fully vaccinated against the virus, according to new data from the state health department.”
‘Daily COVID-19 cases again top 6,000 in Pa.’: PennLive reports that “Pennsylvania reported 6,637 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday.”
Paul Muschick: Why undated mail ballots should not be counted in Lehigh County race – and any others in Pennsylvania
Ernest Owens: 5 Ways the Johnny Doc/Bobby Henon Verdict Will Shake Up Philly Politics
Cheryl Matherly: Why international education matters more than ever
John L. Micek: Voters are cynical? The Pa. House didn’t help this week | Thursday Morning Coffee
Larry Platt: Are Newspapers Too Big To Fail Now?
Pete Shelly: Operating slot machines outside of casinos is illegal
Michael Ciccocioppo: If the courts reverse Roe v. Wade, it will right an injustice to the unborn
Ted Evgeniadis & Justin Mando: We need to use some of the federal funds coming to Pennsylvania to stop the sewage overflow nightmare in Harrisburg
Janet Brier: From Biden’s hometown, a reminder of the perils of toxic fracking waste
Marc Stier: Pa. can build a clean electric vehicle future. Wolf, lawmakers must embrace it
Inquirer Editorial Board: Philly needs a stricter vaccine mandate for city employees
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Child tax credit is an investment in the nation’s future
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: The Extraordinary Give is a worthy event. But please consider whether the participating nonprofits are pursuing equity.
Brian P. Jenssen and Jonathan Foulds: Debate: Are e-cigarettes beneficial to public health? | Pro/Con
Mark Gleason: Instead of hiring one new Philly school superintendent, hire several
Cornelius Pitts and Lauren Kogen: Philly’s unvaccinated aren’t all conspiracy theorists or anti-vaxxers. They’ve just got bigger problems than COVID.
James Byrd: Three years in solitary confinement: An open letter from the Allegheny Co. Jail
Christina D. Rosan: Big idea: Get Philly colleges to band together on Climate Action Plans
Helen Ubiñas: Accountability made a comeback this week. We probably shouldn’t get used to it.
Jenice Armstrong: Black pastors from Philly will stand in solidarity with Ahmaud Arbery’s family in Georgia and that’s a good thing
Will Bunch: The impeachment of President Biden and other American nightmares coming in 2023
Gene Therapy: Global climate summit a real pick-me-up
LaShaya Duval Shepherd: My school created a new curriculum integrating vaccine education. Others should follow our lead.
Trudy Rubin: Xi Jinping thinks America is on the rocks. Is he correct?